Depression in children & adolescents

Our approach to treating depression in children and adolescents: What are the symptoms of depression? Are there different types of depression in children & adolescents? What causes depression in children & adolescents?

Children and adolescents with depression can have very different symptoms from adults with depression, and they may struggle to talk about their feelings.

You might have noticed changes in their attitude, behaviour, fatigue, physical symptoms, or a loss of interest in hobbies or schoolwork. These changes could just be part of growing up, but if they begin to interfere with their social life, family relationships or schoolwork, then it could help to speak with a psychiatrist and seek child depression treatment.

We have extensive experience in helping children with depression, and we can provide the expert guidance, support and understanding your child needs during this difficult time.

Our approach to treating depression in children and adolescents

The first step to treating depression will involve assessing the severity of the depressive symptoms and understanding all of the different factors and circumstances that could be contributing to symptoms. Young people with depression may struggle to talk about their symptoms, but our child psychiatrists have extensive training in identifying the signs.

Typically, we work directly with the young person experiencing depressive symptoms, as well as their parents, relevant family members or carers. If depression is diagnosed, we will help you and your child gain a better understanding of depression, how to manage symptoms and develop a personalised treatment plan.

Child depression treatment plans may combine a variety of approaches, the first always being psychoeducation about the condition, as well as advice and support about managing symptoms. Depending on your child’s unique circumstances, we may also recommend psychotherapy (psychological or talking therapies), lifestyle interventions (such as nutrition or exercise), or antidepressant medication if required.

Some of the therapies recommended to help a child with depression are:

  • Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Family therapy
  • Psychodynamic therapy
 

We place emphasis on involving the young person every step of the way so that they feel empowered to manage their condition positively in conjunction with parental support. We can also conduct capacity assessments to determine if they’re able to make informed decisions about their mental health and treatment plan.

What are the symptoms of depression?

Children and adolescents with depression can have a variety of symptoms that may be hard to recognise, or they may be difficult to distinguish from normal developmental stages. While it is common for everyone to experience depressive symptoms sometimes, even young people, if the symptoms last for more than two weeks, then it can be helpful to consult a psychiatrist.

Many people don’t realise that the symptoms of depression in children can seem like attitude or behavioural problems. Symptoms could include irritability, mood swings, anger or a short temper. Their depression may manifest as stomach aches, headaches or other physical symptoms, especially if they are unaware something is wrong. They might also feel unusually guilty, worthless or afraid that something terrible could happen. Perhaps their mood or behaviour doesn’t seem to change. Still, you start to notice that their grades deteriorate, they find it difficult to concentrate, lack motivation, or they lose interest in their hobbies and socialise less.

In certain instances, the child or teenager may begin to hurt themselves on purpose or experience suicidal thoughts and/or impulses to help cope with their emotional distress. While this can be alarming for both the parent and the child, it is not uncommon and the London Psychiatry Clinic has extensive experience with issues of this nature.

Depression can be incredibly difficult for teenagers, as they are trying to develop their personal identities, social connections all while dealing with hormonal changes and the mounting pressure to succeed academically. These formative life experiences can be positive, but sometimes the turmoil can feel like too much to cope with on their own. If they are also dealing with confusion about their gender or sexual orientation, this can be an additional risk factor for depression.

When treating depression in children and adolescents, we combine expert knowledge with a considerate and sensitive approach so that your child can develop the confidence and resilience to achieve their full potential.

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Thanks Dr P. for having been so instrumental to my growth as an individual and creating a safe environment that also helped me unpack past and current trauma. After 18 months of brilliant care, my quality of life has grown abundantly and I'm hopeful for the future as a person and mother.

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Are there different types of depression in children & adolescents?

Due to the complex nature of depressive symptoms, there are many different diagnostic labels for different versions of depression. Although these diagnostic labels help with characterising symptoms, we endeavour to see young people as individuals with a unique set of symptoms, life circumstances and personality when formulating a diagnosis and discussing their treatment plan.

Depression in children may present in multiple ways with varying degrees of severity and alongside co-existing conditions, such as anxiety or OCD. Depression in children and teenagers can be severe, moderate or mild. When their depression is mild and long lasting they may receive a diagnosis of ‘dysthymia,’ as opposed to depression.

What causes depression in children & adolescents?

Depression is a highly complex disorder that can be caused by a range of environmental, genetic and biological factors. Scientifically, we still don’t understand precisely why some children and adolescents experience depressive symptoms, while others don’t.

Stress is the most common trigger for depressive episodes, and it can come in many forms. Children and adolescents can experience stress much in the same way as adults do, even if the cause of their stress is very different. Critically, children and adolescents may not have developed strategies and ways of overcoming stressful life events, which is why speaking to a psychiatrist to help the child with depression is crucial if they are struggling to cope.

Stress can be caused by traumatic experiences or significant life events, such as divorce, death of a family member or loved one, changing schools or moving to a new area. Sometimes it can be challenging to pinpoint a specific event or trigger. Young people can also experience chronic stress, which could be caused by academic pressure to succeed, bullying, difficulty with social relationships, anxiety about social media, or insecurities about body image. It can be difficult for young people to speak to their parents about many of these issues, which can lead to confusion about precisely what is causing their depression.

Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis are both significant causes of stress and anxiety for children and adolescents. For most young people, the pandemic has substantially disrupted their everyday routines, and many are concerned about their futures.

Depression can develop due to a complex interaction between genetics, biological factors (inflammation and the stress hormone cortisol) and environmental circumstances. Although the risk for developing depression will be slightly higher for a child if someone in their family also suffers from it, it is by no means inevitable that they will develop it.

Can depression go away?

Depression can go away on its own, although in most cases depression does need to be addressed and treated by a professional. With appropriate treatment, we are optimistic that depression in children and teenagers will be a transient period of time in their lives that does not have a detrimental bearing on their long term futures.

How do you treat depression?

Every young person will have a unique set of symptoms and circumstances contributing to their depressive symptoms. We believe child depression treatment requires an holistic approach, taking into account both environmental and biological factors. After a clinical interview, we will build a treatment plan with your input, that could combine psychoeducation, psychotherapy, and lifestyle interventions (nutrition, exercise and sleep), as well as stress-management techniques (mindfulness) and medication.

We can also prescribe antidepressant medication if required, which will typically be a selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Not everyone will respond to the first antidepressant medication that they try, so sometimes trying another type of medication can be helpful. Medication is usually only used if the above approaches aren’t effective at improving symptoms.

Can lifestyle interventions help treat depression?

There are multiple lifestyle interventions that can support child depression treatment . Although we do not recommend you use these techniques to the exclusion of the treatment plan recommended, it can be extremely helpful to include some of the following:

  • A regular sleep pattern with appropriate bed and rising times
  • Time away from technological devices
  • Limited time spent on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram etc.
  • Time spent in nature
  • Social, real life interactions with friends and family
  • Appropriate nutrition that supports the development of your growing child (please seek advice from a registered professional before embarking on a nutrition plan for your child)
  • Exercise, even a brisk walk in the sunshine can help!
  • Hydration
  • Engaging in hobbies, such as arts and crafts, sports, musical instruments and reading
Our Doctors
Here to help you with Depression

Dr Lara Lavadiño

Dr Regina Sala

Dr Maria Martinez Herves

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Hannah Cartwright

I’m Hannah Cartwright, a Registered Associate Nutritionist (ANutr) certified with the Association for Nutrition, UK. I hold a Masters degree in Human Nutrition, Bachelor degree in Psychology, and have completed accredited nutritional counselling courses in Disordered Eating and Body Image.

Conditions I treat:

Disordered eatingEmotional eatingBody imageOptimising gut healthDigestive symptomsIrritable bowel syndromeFood intolerancesNutritional deficienciesWeight managementDiet optimisationFitness goalsNutrition for runners and preparing for marathonsHormonal imbalancesMenopause

I believe nutrition is about nourishing your body with the food you enjoy and embracing a healthy way of living so you can live your life to the fullest.

Fees

First consultations: £200 (1 hour)

Follow-up consultations: £170 (1 hour)

Dr Maria M. Herves

I am a General Psychiatrist with great interest in childhood and adolescence psychiatry. I have been working specifically in this field over the last 10 years. I believe that supporting mental health at early stages in life can prevent it from developing further into more persistent difficulties in adulthood.

Conditions I treat:
ADHDAnxietyAutismBehaviour problemsBipolar disorderChronic painComplex trauma and PTSDDBT(Dialectical behaviour therapyDepressionEmotional DysregulationFamily workFibromyalgiaMemory problemsOCDPanic AttacksParentingPersonality DisordersPsychosisPsychosomaticSchool bullying and cyberbullyingSleep problems

I regard the patient as the product, not the problem. They are a result of their environmental, genetic and social influences, all of which can be addressed and supported with professional help.

Fees
First Consultation:
£580
(1 hour)
First Consultation:
£870
(1.5 hours)
First Consultation:
£1145
(2 hours)
Follow-up consultations:
£290
(30 min)
Follow-up consultations:
£385
(40 min)
Follow-up consultations:
£580
(60 min)

Dr Nagore Benito

I am a General Adult Psychiatrist with extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of most mental health conditions. I offer a person-centered and holistic approach.

Conditions I treat:
ADHDAnxietyBDDBipolar disorderDepression OCDPanic AttacksPsychosisSleep problemsTrauma & PTSD

The best six doctors anywhere, and no one can deny it are sunshine, water, rest, and air, exercise and diet. These six will gladly you attend If only you are willing Your mind they’ll ease Your will they’ll mend And charge you not a shilling
– Nursery rhyme quoted by Wayne Fields, What the River Knows, 1990

Dr Jonathan Garabette

I am a Psychiatrist specialising in General Psychiatry and Medical Psychotherapy.
I treat most mental health difficulties and offer a range of approaches including medication, psychological therapies and lifestyle modification.

Conditions I treat:
Addictions AnxietyBDDBipolar disorderBorderline Personality DisorderComplex TraumaDepersonalisationDepression Eating DisordersInsomniaOCDSleep problemsPanic AttacksPsychosisTrauma & PTSD

I always try to focus on understanding you as a whole person and how any symptoms, problems and diagnoses affect you, your life and what is important to you.

Fees
Initial Consultation:
£1160
(2 hours)
Initial Consultation:
£870
(1.5 hours)
Follow-up Consultation:
£580
(1 hour)
Follow-up Consultation:
£290
(30 min)

Dr Srinvas Lanka

I am a Consultant Psychiatrist specialising in Adult Psychiatry and Neuropsychiatry. I treat a wide variety of mental health and emotional conditions and have specialist expertise in managing complex and long term conditions.

Conditions I treat:
ADHDAutismAddictions AnxietyBDDBipolar disorderBrain inuryBehaviour problemsChronic painDepression Eating DisordersFibromyalgiaMemory problemsOCDPanic AttacksPersonality DisordersPsychosisSleep problemsTrauma & PTSD

I try to understand your treatment goals, values, limitations and preferences, so we can personalise your treatment using the best approach that gives you sustained recovery.

Fees
ADHD Initial Consultation:
£1160
(2 hours)
Initial Consultation:
£870
(1.5 hours)
Follow-up Consultation:
£290
(30 min)
Follow-up Consultation:
£580
(1 hour)

Dr Lara Lavadiño

I am a General Adult Psychiatrist specialised in Adult, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. I have specialist expertise in managing complex and long term conditions. I am an EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) certified psychotherapist also integrating Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Systemic Therapy and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy principles.

Conditions I treat:
ADHDAnxietyAutismBDDBehaviour problemsBrain injuryChronic fatigueChronic painDepressionDissociationFibromyalgiaLearning DisabilityOCDPanic AttacksPanic/AgoraphobiaParentingPerformance anxiety in Music, Acting and SportsPerinatal PsychiatryPersonality DisordersPsychosisSleep problemsSocial phobiaTinnitus and VertigoTrauma & PTSD

I believe in a positive psychiatry approach, empowering both children and adults to overcome any difficulties by providing education and support on their condition, along with a holistic and personalised treatment plan.

Fees
First Consultation:
£475
(1 hour)
First Consultation:
£720
(1.5 hours)
First Consultation:
£895
(2 hours)
Follow-up consultations:
£320
(40 min)
Follow-up consultations:
£475
(60 min)

Dr Luis Alameda

I am a General Adult Psychiatrist and a Neuroscience Researcher. I specialise in severe mental conditions including trauma. I offer an individualised intervention integrating psychotherapy and medical approaches.

Conditions I treat:
AnxietyBorderline Personality DisorderBipolar disorderBrain inuryBehaviour problemsChronic painDepression Dissociative disordersNarcissistic Personality DisorderOCDPanic AttacksPersonality DisordersPsychosisReactions to acute stressSchizophreniaSchizoaffective DisorderSleep problemsTrauma & PTSD

I believe that difficulties in managing mental health are a normal part of life and far more common than you might think. They present an opportunity to understand the problem, become more self-aware and progress on your journey.

Fees
First Consultation:
£395
(1 hour)
Follow-up consultations:
£220
(30 min)
Follow-up consultations:
£330
(45 min)

Dr Iyas Assalman

I am a Consultant Psychiatrist specialised in General Adult Psychiatry. I treat a wide variety of mental health and emotional conditions and I have an expertise in treating Adults with ADHD.

Conditions I treat:
ADHDAnxietyBDDBehaviour problemsBipolar disorderDepressionMemory problemsOCDPanic AttacksPsychosisSleep problemsTrauma and PTSD

Rather than seeing you as a diagnosis or trying to change your personality, I want to understand my patients as a whole person.

Fees
First Consultation:
£495
(1 hour)
First Consultation:
£745
(1.5 hours)
First Consultation:
£980
(2 hours)
Follow-up consultations:
£290
(30 min)
Follow-up consultations:
£385
(40 min)
Follow-up consultations:
£495
(60 min)

Dr Regina Sala

I am a caring and approachable medical doctor specializing in cognitive, behavioural and emotional well-being in children, adolescents, adults and their families. My ethos is to offer excellence of care based on evidence-based research with respect and compassion.

Conditions I treat:
ADHDAutismAddictions AnxietyAttachment difficultiesBDDBehaviour problemsBereavement, grief and lossBipolar disorderBrain injuryChronic painDepressionEating DisordersFamily TherapyFibromyalgiaIntellectual disabilityMedically unexplained symptomsOCDPanic AttacksPersonality DisordersPsychosisPsychosomatic symptomsSleep problemsSocial communication disorderSpecific learning disordersTics and Tourette’s syndromeTrauma & PTSD

I see my patients as human beings and aim to foster a sincere and relaxed environment so that we can build trust during our sessions. I believe in a positive body-mind integration with neuroscience’s principles to empower self-awareness, resilience and personal growth

Fees
First Consultation:
£475
(1 hour)
First Consultation:
£720
(1.5 hours)
First Consultation:
£895
(2 hours)
Follow-up consultations:
£320
(40 min)
Follow-up consultations:
£475
(60 min)

Dr Dinesh Kumar

I’m Dr Dinesh Kumar and I am a Consultant Psychiatrist with over 20 years of clinical experience, gained while working in Australia, NHS and private sector.

Conditions I treat:
ADHDAnxietyPTSDBipolar disorderPhobiasDepression OCDSchizophreniaPsychosisPanic disordersPersonality disorder
When developing your personalised treatment plan, my goal is to help you as a person rather than a patient, so that you can achieve your full potential.
Fees
ADHD Initial Consultation:
£985
(2 hours)
Initial Consultation:
£495
(60 min)
Follow-up Consultation:
£245
(20 min)
Follow-up Consultation:
£290
(30 min)
Follow-up Consultation:
£345
(40 min)
Follow-up Consultation:
£495
(60 min)
Follow-up Consultation:
£745
(90 min)
Follow-up Consultation:
£985
(120 min)

Dr Triveni Joshi

I am a Consultant Psychiatrist specialising in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry with over 15 years clinical experience. I treat a wide variety of mental health and emotional conditions with an emphasis on holistic treatment and working with parents/carers.

Conditions I treat:
ADHDAngerAnxietyAutismBDDBipolar disorderBehavioural difficultiesDepression Emerging Personality DisordersOCDPanic AttacksParentingPsychosisSleep problemsTrauma & PTSD

I love to work with children. I wholeheartedly believe that early intervention is one of the best ways to successfully manage long term mental health problems.

Fees
First Consultation:
£475
(1 hour)
First Consultation:
£720
(1.5 hours)
First Consultation:
£895
(2 hours)
Follow-up consultations:
£320
(40 min)
Follow-up consultations:
£475
(60 min)

Lynn Gruwez

I’m a Clinical Psychologist with experience across a range of mental health conditions. My goal as a therapist is to see each person as someone unique and human. I seek to understand in depth the nature of any mental health symptoms so that I can flexibly and creatively adapt therapy to suit your circumstances.

Conditions I treat:
ADHDAddictions AnxietyBDDBipolar disorderBehaviour problemsChronic painDepression Eating DisordersFibromyalgiaOCDPanic AttacksSleep problemsTrauma & PTSD

I believe in a holistic, non-judgemental approach where clients have the space and freedom to share their fears without constraint. I have a strong interest and passion for Mindfulness.

Fees

Please contact us for more information

Dr Jonathan Garabette

I am a Psychiatrist specialising in General Psychiatry and Medical Psychotherapy. I treat most mental health difficulties and offer a range of approaches including medication, psychological therapies and lifestyle modification.
Conditions I treat:
Depression and Dysthymia​Depression and Dysthymia​Depression and Dysthymia​

I always try to focus on understanding you as a whole person and how any symptoms, problems and diagnoses affect you, your life and what is important to you.

Fees
First Consultation:
£475
(1 hour)
First Consultation:
£720
(1.5 hours)
First Consultation:
£895
(2 hours)
Follow-up consultations:
£275
(30 minutes)
Follow-up consultations:
£320
(40 minutes)
Follow-up consultations:
£475
(60 minutes)

Dr Ana Tsakiri

My Trauma-informed practice and holistic therapeutic approach aims to support children during periods of acute crisis but also help them with long standing emotional and behavioural difficulties. I work with families to understand how adversity and trauma has impacted a child’s world causing emotional and mental health difficulties as well as physical symptoms. I am also a Consultant Psychiatrist specialised in Interventional Psychiatry with TMS therapy for young people with resistant emotional difficulties and severe depression.

Conditions I treat:
ADHDAnxietyAutismBehavioural problemsBDDBipolar disorderBrain inuryComplex TraumaDepression Eating DisordersEmotional Difficulties Family workInterpersonal relationship problemsOCDPanic AttacksParental Psychoeducation about Mental Health DisordersPersonality DisordersPhychosomatic symptomsPsychosisPTSDSleep problems

The aim is always for your child to overcome the negative influence of the experience, redefine how they feel and rebuild their confidence

Fees
First Consultation:
£395
(1 hour)
First Consultation:
£650
(1.5 hours)
First Consultation:
£790
(2 hours)
Follow-up consultations:
£245
(30 min)
Follow-up consultations:
£295
(40 min)
Follow-up consultations:
£395
(60 min)

Alexandra Madureira

I’m a Clinical Psychologist who thinks outside the box. I have a creative and passionate approach that focuses on healing emotions while also considering life situations and neurobiological mechanisms.

Conditions I treat:
ADHDAddictions AnxietyBDDBipolar disorderBrain inuryBehaviour problemsChronic painDepression Eating DisordersFibromyalgiaMemory problemsOCDPanic AttacksPersonality DisordersTrauma & PTSD

I believe feeling safe is a prerequisite for change and therefore I focus on making people feel comfortable, so they can gain the courage to face and break unhelpful psychological patterns.

Fees

Please contact us for more information

Gemma Luke

My name is Dr Gemma Luke, a consultant clinical psychologist. I have been working in the field of mental health for over 20 years, and as a qualified clinical psychologist since 2011.

Conditions I treat:
Self-HarmAddictions AnxietyBDDBipolar disorderBehaviour problemsDepression Eating DisordersOCDPanic AttacksPersonality DisordersTrauma & PTSDOffending behaviour (domestic, violent, and sexual abuse)Behavioural issues

I am passionate about promoting positive mental health and strive to work holistically with both mind and body to help my clients achieve lasting change.

Fees

Initial consultations: £245 (1 hour)

Follow-up consultations: £245 (1 hour)

Dr Alberto Pertusa

I have a strong interest in behaviour modification, lifestyle optimisation and the use of self-quantification as a way to foster wellbeing and increase performance.

Conditions I treat:
ADHDAddictionsAnxietyBinge EatingOCDOrthorexiaSleep problems

I always strive to provide the highest standards of care to all my patients.
I endeavour to offer personalised and bespoke treatment in order to meet your specific needs